Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical words and watercolour

Cultivate your butterflies

Series of the MonthKerrie Woodhouse

Brightly coloured flowers are irresistible ... not just to painters.

Did you know that the blooms are particular colours in order to attract what they need? Most flowers need the help of pollinators to reproduce. Bees are attracted to blue and violet flowers, while butterflies prefer bright pinks and reds, or yellows and orange shades.


Just as it is with us, the way the flower presents itself to the world attracts its tribe. The energy we put out influences what we receive.


Painting blooms and their bugs got me thinking about relationships. Blooms and their pollinating bugs need each other. These are the best kind of symbiotic relationships. Biologists call this mutualism - each party benefits from the relationship - just like the best friendships.


Every gardener delights at the sight of a ladybird in the garden.  The little ladybird in her quiet unassuming way does a great deal for the plants. She can munch her way through many an aphid and her bright orange and black markings are actually a natural deterrent to some birds that may harm the flowers.


There are other relationships in nature known as commensualism where only one party gains from the relationship. A tree orchid for example, gains support and partial shade from the tree without causing it any harm. It made me wonder if it is possible to have a human relationship like that.


Can we have an exchange with another person that does not affect us in any way... or is it true that there is no such thing as a truly unselfish act?


One  thing I do know is that not all our relationships will be beneficial. Just like in the garden - not all the bugs will be ladybirds. The odd pest is inevitable.


Most of us can identify the relationships we have that deplete us. At best we can remove ourselves from them completely. Unfortunately this is not always possible. But every garden can cope with a pest or two - so can you.

As long as we have enough of the positive, supportive relationships around us we have greater resilience to cope with the challengers. Like a butterfly in the garden, a good friend will brighten your day. Her warmth can lighten your heart and nurture your soul.


Sure, your best friend might not chomp the head off your foe - ladybird style, but she will buoy you up to handle what comes your way. Her support and understanding is enough to give you courage and strength when you need it.


So have a look around your garden today.

Identify the relationships that do not serve you well so that you can eliminate or minimise them.

And always cultivate your butterflies....


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